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What to charge

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by PinkFloydDan, Jan 25, 2006.

  1. PinkFloydDan


    Jul 4, 2005
    We are a three piece rock band that has a bunch of gigs set, including festivals.

    I just joined this band and I am wondering if these guys are asking for pay that it too low. For example, we are playing a County Fair and he asked for $350, and we have to bring the PA. We play another small town fair and I have no clue what the pay is, but I assume 350 or less.

    Should we be asking for more? I think it should be at least $500. They have been around for awhile, have a small following of friends and strangers, have recorded 4 cds...they put a lot of time and effort into this and so have I, and I will continue.

    I would not call any of us "professional" musicians but we do have the goal and dream of supporting ourselves with the tunes.

    Any thoughts? What do other rock bands get, three members, or whatever? Small to medium sized gigs. No stadium rock stuff or large venues yet.

  2. Theonestarchild

    Theonestarchild Artfully lost

    Aug 23, 2005
    North Carolina
    I'm happy for someone to ask to hear what I've got. But if they offer you money, do this. See whatever gear you might need to update. Ask for that much. And once you have everything you need, ask for enough for food for a week.
  3. cheezewiz

    cheezewiz Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2002
    If you're playing originals and don't have much of a following, consider yourself lucky you get anything. Most bands like that pay to play. If you have a large established following, or you're a high quality cover band, I'd ask for a bit more.

    My 5 piece gets between $500 and $800 for most jobs, and more for holidays (NYE for example) and weddings, doing mostly 1960s and 70s covers.
  4. PinkFloydDan


    Jul 4, 2005
    cover bands suck. period. Sorry. I rather blow my head of with a shotgun than play in a cover band. Lame. Unoriginal. Boring. Fake.
  5. buzzbass

    buzzbass Shoo Shoo Retarded Flu !

    Apr 23, 2003
    Nice attutude, Like Cheesie said, you're lucky getting that for originals. It's not like your even a smaller named national act. Like it or not, people like to hear music that their familiar with at just about every public gathering. Come to think of it, that's good money or a local original band anywhere. Me, I'd rather get paid.
  6. Congrats, you just shot yourself in the foot, jackass.
  7. bassbully43


    Jul 1, 2005
    Good...leave the covers to us!!! We get more money ..more followers and pretty women dancing their butts off....Stand on stage and play to 20 folks who wonder who and what you are.
  8. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    I've been down that road. After years of playing in a cover band, I played in an originals band and we had some relative success.

    Keep in mind we had at least 200+ original songs, could play an entire night of them, but out of the 200+ there were maybe...and I mean maybe 4 or 5 that had any kind of shot at catching on with a radio station, or anything that even remotely resembled notoriety.

    We did that off and on for about 15-20 years...each time we got together we made them a little better and became a little more popular.

    It's a brutal business. In the end, having a family meant more to me than my high-horse musical ideals, so now I play in a cover band again. A very popular, well paid, solidly booked cover band.

    I get to play music for enthusiastic crowds, get paid a lot of money to do it and have a ton of fun...and my family and I spend a lot of quality, stress free time together.

    Get back to us in 15-20 years (I graduated high school shortly after you were born) and let us know how you still feel about it. I know where you are coming from. It'll be interesting to know where you go and how you end up.

    Good luck.
  9. bmc


    Nov 15, 2003

    Good response. Helpful.

    One of tricks we use is asking what their budget is. Theyt say $700...you say great, that's what we charge.

    We charge a lot for our services. We feel we are worth it. We hold out for the money and we usually get it. Charging a lot of money, aside from telling people you're pricey, tells people you are good. Tell me, which band is probably better? One charging $500 or one charging $1500?
  10. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    Good point. Don't ever sell your band short. Club owners will always want to pay as little as they can get away with. They also talk with each other. Charging too little has side effects...like driving the price down for ALL bands, at ALL clubs.

    If you are good, find out the going rate for other clubs and bands and up the ante. Ask for more and back it up with a good show. It will only improve things for your own band as well as every other band out there.
  11. PinkFloydDan


    Jul 4, 2005

    Because you don't agree with me? It never seems to amaze me how "musicians" will learn all of these songs from other bands and then illegally go out and play them for money. It's illegal. I know many do it, but it doesn't make it right.

    I rather make less money playing original stuff and use the covers for my room when I practice.

    Didn't mean to sound so harsh, but that's my opinion. I walk into a bar with a cover band and I walk right out. Don't butcher that Grateful Dead tune fool. Don;t even try to play that TOOL song, because it ruins it. Trying to cover Led Zep or Floyd, gag.
  12. Hey, you're entitled to your opinion. If you don't want to hear a cover band, it's a free country. There are plenty of small clubs and coffee houses out there that book original bands regularly. However, I find that most bars, especially in smaller communities, book primarily cover bands, because that's what your average joe who is going to spend 20-50 bucks a night on beer and food wants to hear. I enjoy playing out, so I play in a cover band. I realize that it might be more "artistically satisfying" to play originals, but originals don't usually pay the bills.

    As for legalities, you don't know what you're talking about, and I don't feel like getting into the technical legalities of performances in an establishment.

    Check your attitude, btw. You'll only go so far if you come off like that to fellow musicians, people who might look to book you for a potential gig, etc. Saying stuff like "cover bands suck" is pretty stupid when the majority of people on this board currently, or have in the past, played in one.
  13. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    It's not illegal for a cover band to play cover songs if the club is doing it legally (i.e. - according to applicable copyright laws under "live entertainment"...i.e. - kaoroke, coin jukeboxes and live bands).

    Just because you choose to play originals, doesn't make cover bands worthless or cheap. You don't prefer that. That's cool with me. I've been in your shoes...kudos to you. I wish you lots of luck and fun with it. It is a very cool thing.

    But so is playing in a cover band if you are so inclined. A lot depends on geography. Where I'm from an originals band ain't going to play out much, and for not very much money. With my family situation being what it is, if all I had to play in was an originals band I wouldn't be playing at all.

    That sucks far worse than playing Gimme Three Steps for the one millionth time.

    Hopefully your attitude changes, or you continue on with enough success with the originals band that it allows you to keep playing. Otherwise, you'll find yourself on the outside looking in.

    Best of luck!
  14. PinkFloydDan


    Jul 4, 2005
    Well, what I said is being taken out of context. I am not saying cover bands suck therefore the musicians suck.

    Most of the time it is the opposite. I gues it just irritates me to hear many people "speak the truth" and say that if you want to make more money, play covers.

    Sorry to be so offensive. Or defensive. But I will continue bucking the "cover band" system.

    If that means I only bring in $100 instead of $300, fine.

    And as for my attitude, this is a forum of bass players. I am not trying to get a gig here. I asked a question and no one really answered it. Instead what I got was "play covers and you'll make money." and my reply was I rather shoot myself.

    Freedom of expression. But I know how to act like a professional when I need to. But I felt like bucking you guys a bit and telling you how it is from my perspective.

    I've never played in a cover band. I have much bigger goals and I'd kill those dreams if I was in a cover band.
  15. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    I did give you a response in one of my posts about what to charge.

    But we did have to defend our chosen part-time livlihood when you slammed us for it (intentional or otherwise).

    Like I said...I've been in your shoes. Go for it while you can!!!

    At some point down the road a few years, your only alternative (if you want to keep playing) may very well be doing covers, or not playing at all.

    I've been there and I understand where you are coming from...believe me! So, as long as you can do it...Just do it!
  16. PinkFloydDan


    Jul 4, 2005
    I apologize for the slam. It was harsh. Ugh.
    Watch, 5 years from now I will be in a cover band.

    :meh: :meh: :meh:
  17. bmc


    Nov 15, 2003
    Playing covers is boring. However, it pays. We play them, but not always as per the original. On the fly, we will play covers in all kinds of styles. Route 66 as a reggae tune. Brown Eyed Girl as a ska tune. We don't rehearse and work these out. We do it on the fly.

    Another thing we do is add 3 new songs at each gig. No prior rehearsing. Learn the parts, pay attention, stay true to the song, add harmonies where appropriate. You need to ensure you have a high level of musicianship to pull it off. Often times it feels like downhill skiing with a couple of champions, doing new slopes every time for the first time. It's challenging, exciting and takes concentration.

    It's a bit of a compromise between giving the client what they want, and having the freedom to be creative and fresh each time I get up on stage. It's a different spin on it.
  18. PinkFloydDan


    Jul 4, 2005
    You basically make covers your own. That sounds fun actually. My old band, I did a lot of improv, which is like downhil skiing. Professional or even talented bassists would probably get sick watching me do it. But, I have the basic knowledge and the ear to figure it out.

    I don't know what to say. I have been having a pretty stressful month so I have been offending people left and right. It will get better I hope.

    Sorry guys and cover band players. No harm. I'm the one who sucks!

  19. bmc


    Nov 15, 2003
    Relax. You show passion. That's what makes good taseful players. Especially as they age. Don't beat yourself up.:)
  20. PinkFloydDan


    Jul 4, 2005
    If you checked my post history on here over the last month, I have beating the livin' hell out of myself. I do it at work. I do it at play.

    This new band, trying to come up with lines for their tunes, and even trying to hear out their old bass players lines, is taking a lot of time. But I have been practicing more than ever, sometimes 3 hours a day. We've had 5 practices and I've got about 8 to 9 songs down pretty well and another 8 to 9 almost there. So, the practice time has decreased to like an hour a day.

    But, doing covers, live, takes some balls. I admit. I could do it and I see where it would be fun in some cases, but original music keeps the "making it big" dream alive. I like to dream, have goals.

    But no matter how many people came up to me after a gig and said "Dude, you can play that bass" I still go home thinking I suck because I don't have a lot of theory training, my technicals skills stink (I don't slap or pop partially because I find it annoying for what I like to do but I'd still like to have knowledge of how to do it and be able to do it) and my ear is a bit out of whack.

    But to me, not knowing these things, sometimes makes music that more interesting to me. I feel more accomplished when I do things right, with the minimal knowledge I have. It also prevents me from having an ego with bandmates---I don't act like I am better than they or. Normally, I act as if I am worse.

    But, oh well. I still enjoy it and when it comes to the time to play these songs live, I have a carefree attitude. I don't expect anything. If I screw up, I get right back into the groove. I've never flopped on my face to the point where the song stops, and I have seen pro bands do that before. I can find my ways back into the groove pretty quick when I flub a note or something. So, I just go in hoping for the best and come to terms that nothing is ever perfect.

    I always walk away feeling spiritually touched after gigs. Every single time. It's only when that feel subsides that I go back to "I suck."